Cook kohlrabi or eat it raw. Kohlrabi tastes like a mild, sweet turnip with a bit of radish tang. Young kohlrabi is juicy and crisp and delicate.
The peak kohlrabi harvest season is mid-spring to mid-fall.
How to Choose Kohlrabi
- Select kohlrabi that is firm and heavy for its size with crisp deeply colored leaves that have no yellowing on their tips. The base should be free of cracks.
- Small to medium-sized bulbs will be sweet and tender.
- Overly large bulbs will be tough and strong tasting.
- The skin of the kohlrabi base is edible when young. It is best to remove the skin of mature kohlrabi. The flesh of the base has the texture of celery root or turnip. Kohlrabi is the most tender when the base is less than 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter.
- Kohlrabi stalks are crunchy like broccoli and have a hint of radish and cucumber taste to them. The leaves can have the flavor of turnip greens.
How to Store Kohlrabi
- Kohlrabi will keep tightly wrapped for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. If you want to store the base longer, remove the leaves which otherwise will draw moisture away from the base causing it to lose its crispness.
How to Prepare Kohlrabi
- When ready to use, remove the leaves, discard the stems, wash in warm water, and then cook. Use the leaves for slow-cooked greens.
- To eat kohlrabi raw, remove the stems and then peel. You can strip out the stem by folding together the two sides of the leaf and pulling out the stem.
- You can peel kohlrabi before or after cooking, but it is easier to peel once it has been cooked. You can steam the bulb to loosen the skin. Trim the bulb to remove the fibrous under-layer just beneath the skin.
How to Steam Kohlrabi
- Use a serrated knife to slice kohlrabi into 1-inch diameter pieces.
- Add a few inches of water to a pot and add a dash of salt then insert a steamer basket. The water should not touch the bottom of the steamer basket.
- Cover the pot and bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Steam until the tip of a paring knife can be inserted easily into the kohlrabi, about 5 to 7 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. Remove the lid frequently to release cooking gases.
- Drain the saucepan and kohlrabi through a colander.
- Serve the kohlrabi just crisp, al dente.
- Kohlrabi leaves can be steam also. Steam the leaves as you would steam spinach, cooking them for about 5 minutes.
How to Bake Kohlrabi
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Rub the kohlrabi with olive or vegetable oil; sprinkle it with salt. Prick the kohlrabi with the tines of a fork.
- Place the kohlrabi on a baking sheet or lay it directly on the oven rack,
- Bake for 45 to 60 minutes (depending on size); turn the bulb once at halfway.
- Bake until the skin is golden and crispy; the kohlrabi will be baked when a sharp knife inserted in the flesh meets no resistance. The internal temperature should be about 210 degrees F.
How to Roast Kohlrabi
- Roast kohlrabi with the skin on or peeled. Cut large kohlrabi into thick wedges.
- Precook cut kohlrabi in a microwave until soft but still firm, about 4 minutes. Or boil in salted water until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Spread the wedges on a pan or baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil or fat and toss well. The pieces should be evenly coated and the pan should have light, even oil across the surface.
- Season with salt, dry herbs, or spices.
- Roast 20 to 30 minutes, until bottoms are browned and a spatula slides under them smoothly.
How to Boil Kohlrabi
- Peel and trim the kohlrabi.
- Cook whole or cut the kohlrabi into roughly equal size pieces, 1 or 2 inches in diameter.
- Place whole or sliced kohlrabi in a pot with water to cover and add a pinch of salt, or put in a steamer above the water.
- Add a teaspoon of sugar to give it a bit of a sweet taste.
- Bring to a boil and cook until the kohlrabi is tender; about 10 minutes for cut pieces, about 35 minutes to cook whole.
How to Microwave Kohlrabi
- Place the whole or sliced kohlrabi in a covered dish.
- Sprinkle it with a bit of water.
- Cook in the microwave on high for about 10 minutes.
How to Sauté Kohlrabi with Other Vegetables
- Melt 4 to 6 tablespoons butter in a heavy pan over low heat.
- Add aromatics such as garlic cloves or peeled or diced onions; simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the kohlrabi and other long-cooking vegetables such as carrots or parsnips. Use at least three vegetables.
- Add the next longest cooking vegetable.
- Cover the pan and continue cooking for about 20 minutes.
- Add the quickest cooking vegetables such as cauliflower or zucchini
- Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender
- Stir in additional butter to taste and flavor with salt and freshly ground black pepper or herbs to taste.
How to Stir-Fry Kohlrabi
- Peel and trim the kohlrabi.
- Slice the kohlrabi into thin strips; the smaller the pieces the faster they will cook.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of corn oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat for 3 or 4 minutes.
- Add the kohlrabi and a quarter cup of stock or water.
- Cook, stirring constantly, until the kohlrabi is tender, about 7 minutes.
How to Make Kohlrabi Fries
- Cut kohlrabi bulbs into spears or strips.
- Toss spears in olive oil along with salt and seasonings of your choice–garlic powder, dried thyme or cayenne.
- Place spears on a baking sheet or roasting pan and roast at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes.
How to Mash Kohlrabi
- Cut or dice kohlrabi into pieces and place them in a pot. Cover them with water and add a dash of salt.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Lower the heat and let it simmer until the pieces are tender, for 15 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.
- Drain the kohlrabi and mash the pieces with a potato masher.
- Work in 4 to 6 tablespoons of melted butter and season to taste with salt and pepper or a pinch of powdered nutmeg or cinnamon.
How to Make Kohlrabi Gratin
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Peel the kohlrabi and slice them up to 1/4-inch thick.
- Layer the slices in an ovenproof skillet almost to the top. Overlap the slices slightly nearly to the top of the skillet.
- Dot the top of the slices with 2 to 3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks. Pour in half-and-half (or a combination of milk and cream) to come 3/4 of the way to the top (about 2 to 3 cups).
- Place the skillet on the stove and bring the liquid to a boil; reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes, until the liquid level drops.
- Place the skillet in the oven and bake until the top browns, 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 300 degrees F and garnish the top with grated cheese (Cheddar, Gruyère, Parmesan). Cook 10 minutes more, or until tender and browned.
How to Make Kohlrabi Puree
- To make kohlrabi soup add one medium potato for every three kohlrabies; this will make a thicker, creamier puree.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and lightly salt.
- Add the kohlrabi peeled and cubed and potatoes peeled and cubed
- Cook over medium heat until simmering
- Cook until the kohlrabi and potatoes are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Drain and place the kohlrabi and potatoes in a food processor or pass them through a food mill.
- Add butter or olive oil and process until smooth. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Kohlrabi Serving Suggestions
- Kohlrabi can be served raw, grated, sprinkled with salt, or cooked. Kohlrabi can be steamed, added to soups and stews, and stir-fried.
- To serve raw, peel and slice or cut into strips, cubes, or wedges to serve with crudités.
- Julienne kohlrabi for vegetable or meat salads. Grate or shred to add to a slaw or toss with rémoulade sauce (mayonnaise, mustard, capers, chopped gherkins, herbs, and anchovies).
- Cook kohlrabi flesh like you would turnips or celeriac. Boil and serve tender-crisp. (You may want to change the water twice when boiling for a lighter flavor.) Peel and steam and serve with lemon juice and melted butter.
- Add whole peeled kohlrabi to braised dishes and stews and cook about 20 minutes. You can add the leaves halfway through.
- Roast kohlrabi chunks in a pan with meats or poultry.
- Cut the flesh into slices or wedges and add to Chinese stir-fry or Indian curry.
- Combine peeled kohlrabi with potatoes when making scalloped potatoes.
- Dip kohlrabi slices or sticks into tempura batter and deep-fry.
- Trim, scrub, boil whole or sliced for 20 or 30 minutes, then drain, peel, and serve with melted butter or white sauce or mashed.
- Kohlrabi leaves can be cooked like spinach. Trim and boil the leaves until tender about 2-3 minutes, drain then aside and serve.
- Sprinkle cooked leaves with lemon juice and a dollop of butter.
- Purple kohlrabi may change color during cooking and become whitish colored.
Kohlrabi Flavor Partners
- Kohlrabi is delicious served with cheese, curry, Dijon mustard, garlic, ginger, potatoes, rice wine, roasted meats, sesame oil, or soy sauce.
- Kohlrabi is rich in potassium and vitamin C.
- There are about 40 calories per cup of raw kohlrabi.
Get to Know Kohlrabi
- Kohlrabi, which means “cabbage-turnip” in German, is a member of the cabbage and turnip family.
- Unlike the turnip, the swollen stem or base of the kohlrabi grows above ground. It can reach the size of an orange and can be white, deep violet, or greenish-white in color.
- From the base, thin stalks grow out in all directions. The stalks are topped with large broccoli-like leaves, are edible, and can be prepared just like spinach.
- Kohlrabi originated in Northern Europe as late as the fifteenth or sixteenth century although Pliny, the ancient Roman, described a similar vegetable grown by the Romans in the first century.
- Today kohlrabi is most popular in Germany and Central Europe. In Italy, it is known as cavolo-rapa, which means cabbage turnip.
The botanical name for kohlrabi is Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes.
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